- Class: Junior
- Major: Engineering
- Gender: F
- High School: Guilford High School
- Transfer Student: N
In my opinion, Tufts is a compromise between all different aspects of college, which more or less gives it the best of all worlds. We're medium sized - you're constantly meeting new people and have the resources of a bigger school, yet you'll see a half dozen familiar faces walking to class and have many small classes. We're just outside of Boston - we have quads and a campus bubble, yet all the best parts of Boston like big events, restaurants, internships, are accessible from the T. We have both a liberal arts and an engineering school - everyone interacts with shared classes and there's virtually no walls between the schools like you see at big universities. Last, there are plenty of research opportunities for science/social science majors, but small classes and engaging professors like a typical liberal arts school. Campus is gorgeous in the spring, summer, and fall, but little gloomy in the winter and on rainy days. Students mostly stay on campus, but some go into Boston a few times a week while others rarely make the trip. Everything you need is on campus, but it's nice to eat off campus/go to something cool in Boston. Generally, people are impressed by the Tufts "name" too. The "Tufts must be 'tuft' to get into!" joke gets old quick though. Outside of New England, there's less name recognition, but the more pretentious students will tell you that the people who matter know the Tufts name. Sometimes they'll joke about our endearing/somewhat embarrassing mascot, Jumbo.
Academics have a huge range on campus. The intro science classes are ridiculously difficult at times and can be really big. On the other hand, there are plenty of "joke" English classes that only have ten or so students. Participation is common and even required in smaller classes (especially language classes and bigger classes' recitations). Big intro classes are lecture format and discussion is limited to a few questions per class. Some professors really want to get to know their students, but in bigger classes, getting to know your professor is dependent on you and visiting office hours. Difficulty wise, classes are what you make of them. You can take three or four easy classes and rarely do work or spend your life in the library with six hard ones. Again, generally students aren't competitive with grades and it lends to a nice, helpful, study environment. Engineers and liberal arts students have different mentalities towards academics. Engineers are focused on learning skills for jobs, while many LA students don't mind writing history papers, waxing philosophy, and worrying about jobs later. I've noticed also that many engineers choose Tufts because even they have humanities distribution requirements - many want a broader education than more technical schools focus on. But LA students should be forewarned about the intense six semester language requirement! As a side note, the ExCollege at Tufts offers the most interesting classes usually taught by professionals in the real world. I took a journalism class last semester by a Boston Globe investigative reporter. It was awesome, and we even got to tour the Globe and a TV station.
Tufts is pretty known for diversity and international representation. We have tons active of cultural and ethnic groups on campus (which also causes Tufts to be pretty PC). At first, it's intimidating to hearing so many languages spoken by all of the European/South American students while walking to class. However, the one area where Tufts is lacking is in socioeconomic diversity... In general, we're a pretty liberal campus. New England quaint, relaxed liberals. However, we also have a pretty vocal conservative minority on campus, and they're run into some trouble recently with some PC issues. Basically though, anyone can fit in here. We've got wealthy IR major types determined to become diplomats. There are social activist hippies who work in our Oxfam cafe and stage protests. We have nerdy computer engineers who harbor passions for philosophy and sorority-girl chemical engineers. International students, student senate go-getters, theatre kids, athletes, frat brothers, yeah... The one thing in common? Almost everyone at Tufts is pretty damn ambitious!
The Best Things
The students, of course!
The Worst Things
The Ivy League reject complex that isn't true!